'Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat', popularly called Saint Basil's Cathedral, is situated in Moscow. The church, which serves as a representative of Moscow throughout the world, is famous for its distinctive onion domes. Dating back to the 16th
century, the church has been built in a contemporary style. St. Basil's has nine domes on a single foundation and represents the success of military, against the Tartar Mongols, in 1552. Explore some more interesting and fun facts about Saint Basil's Cathedral.
Interesting & Fun Facts About Saint Basil's Cathedral
- St. Basil's Cathedral was primarily built by 'Ivan the Terrible', to commemorate the capture of the Tartar stronghold of Kazan, in 1552, which occurred on the Feast of the Intercession of the Virgin. The cathedral, thus, was officially named as 'Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat'.
- The cathedral was given the nickname "St. Basil's" after the "holy fool" Basil the Blessed (1468-1552), who, at that time, was hugely popular with the Muscovites masses and even with Ivan, the Terrible, himself.
- The design of St. Basil's Cathedral comprises of nine individual chapels. Each of the nine chapels has a unique onion dome, reflecting a victorious assault on the city of Kazan.
- Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich added the ninth chapel of St. Basil's Cathedral in 1588. It was added on the eastern side to house the grave of St. Basil.
- The cathedral was designed in such a way that it would reflect an architectural representation of the New Jerusalem - the Heavenly Kingdom described in the Book of Revelation of St. John, the Divine. The design is based on deep religious symbolism.
- The eight-point star of St. Basil's Cathedral is symbolical of the Christian Church, as a guiding light to mankind, showing us the way to the Heavenly Jerusalem. It also represents Virgin Mary, depicted in Orthodox iconography with a veil, decorated with three eight-pointed stars.
- The cathedral is the most recognizable symbol of Russia. Its colorful onion domes are instantly recognizable around the world as emblems of Moscow.
- It is believed that after the construction work of Saint Basil's Cathedral was complete, Ivan blinded Postnik Yakovlev - the architect, to prevent him from constructing a more splendid building for anyone else.
- The design of the cathedral is based on contemporary tented churches, mainly those of Ascension in Kolomenskoye (1530) and of St John the Baptist's Decapitation in Dyakovo (1547).
- Each of the chapels of Saint Basil's Cathedral stands adorned by beautiful icons, medieval painted walls, and varying artwork, on the top inside of the domes.
- The garden at the front of the cathedral houses a bronze statue honoring Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who led Russia's volunteer army against the Polish invaders, during the Time of Troubles, in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.